The gift of life

Anyone in need of a kidney usually receives it through the Gift of Life organization.

GIFT OF Life: Matnat Chaim donors, 2016-2017. (photo credit: Courtesy)
GIFT OF Life: Matnat Chaim donors, 2016-2017.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Generally, campaigns for life-saving donations are conducted by organizations that are geared to appealing to the public and liaising between patients and donors. Thus most people requiring a bone marrow transplant turn to Ezer Mizion, which in turn checks its data bank, and if there is no suitable donor in its files, it launches a public appeal.
People, who in the event of their demise are willing to have their organs transplanted to save the life or sight of someone else, usually carry an ADI card. But in the event of emergency cases in which someone who does not carry an ADI card is killed in an accident, ADI appeals to the family of the deceased, and sometimes that person’s organs are transplanted into as many as six different people. Although it has been known for older people to receive organs, priority is usually given to younger people.
Knowing this, Amiram, a 68-year-old retired educator, who spends three days a week on dialysis, has placed a quarter-page advertisement in a local tabloid in the hope of finding a matching kidney. None of his three daughters can help him, because all three have had previous illnesses that preclude them from being donors. Because of his age, writes Amiram, the chances of finding a suitable donor are very slim, especially because there is a long line of younger people ahead of him. He dearly wants to be around to see his three grandchildren aged 3-11 growing up and becoming useful citizens. “I want to live,” he writes. “Please find me a suitable donor.”Anyone willing to donate a kidney can contact him at 050-5240472.
Anyone in need of a kidney usually receives it through the Gift of Life organization, which was headed by Rabbi Yeshayahu Haber, who himself had been the recipient of a kidney, and who had been very close to death at the time that a suitable donor was found. As someone who knew from personal experience what it means to be the beneficiary of such altruism, Rabbi Haber wanted as many people as possible to receive the Gift of Life, and took a personal interest in every patient who appealed to his organization.
Unfortunately, in April, he fell victim to COVID-19, and died at the age of 59.
But Gift of Life continues to operate. His wife, Ruchi, who had fully supported his endeavors is carrying on with his work.
■ WITH ALL the uncertainties related to lockdown, Rabbi Yisroel Goldberg, the director of Chabad of Rehavia, thought he should put up a public sukkah just in case it was needed, and almost immediately after Rosh Hashanah, a sukkah was erected outside the storefront premises of the Chabad House. In essence this means a lot of people living within a kilometer of Chabad of Rehavia, and who this year did not have the possibility or the impetus to build a sukkah of their own, but nonetheless want to spend at least enough time inside one in order to recite the blessing, have the opportunity to do so.
■ WHILE HUNDREDS missed out on the beauty of the High Holy Day services of the Great Synagogue, which in the past were enhanced by the Great Synagogue Choir conducted by Elli Jaffe, there was some compensation this past Saturday night when Jaffe conducted the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in a special High Holy Day concert featuring cantors Tzvi Weiss, Avraham Kirshenbaum and Yaki Lauer.
The concert was shown on Facebook and YouTube. Lovers of cantorial music who are also fans of Jaffe’s can find a large YouTube selection of concerts that he conducted in Israel and abroad with, among others, Israel Rand, Moshe Salomon, Yossi Schwartz, Shai Abramson, Dudu Fisher, Avremi Roth, Benzion Miller and Chaim Stern.
■ ZOOM AND other social media have become entrenched platforms not only for cantorial music, but for studies in Judaica, for lectures by leading rabbis, and even for such personal things as Kapparot and leaving notes in the Western Wall. Ordinarily on Shabbat Shuva, the Sabbath before Yom Kippur, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau would be dividing his time between the Great Synagogue and Yeshurun Synagogue to deliver sermons. But this time, he did the same as he did on Shabbat Hagadol, the Sabbath that precedes Passover, and delivered his sermon on YouTube. The video was relayed on various religious websites.
■ ON THURSDAY afternoon last week, Mahaneh Yehuda market had very few customers. In the pre-coronavirus days, late Thursday afternoons were nearly as packed as Fridays, as so many people did their weekend shopping on Thursday. On Friday the situation improved considerably, and prices of fruit and vegetables shot up from what they had been the previous day. A customer buying avocados from a vendor at the Jaffa Road end of the market complained that on the previous day they had been NIS 7.90 per kilo and now they were NIS 10.90. “Yesterday, there were not enough customers who wanted them,” explained the vendor. “Today there are.” The man who had missed out on the cheaper price kept complaining until another customer informed him that at the Agrippas Street end of the market, the prices of all fruits and vegetables were nearly double.